Errors and Logs?
Can you actually verify that mysql is running?
# ps aux | grep mysql
Can you connect to the mysql server? (might be able to just use 'mysql' without any flags if you haven't set a root password)
# host01:/# mysql -u root -p
Welcome to the MySQL monitor. Commands end with ; or \g.
Your MySQL connection id is 1360 to server version: 4.0.24_Debian-10sarge1-log
Type 'help;' or '\h' for help. Type '\c' to clear the buffer.
If not, then I'd check the log files. I'm not familiar with mandrake, but standard places would be /var/log/messages, /var/log/syslog, /var/log/mysql.err, /var/log/mysql.log, /var/log/mysql/*, etc.
see if there are any entries related to mysql after starting it, stopping it, restarting it ... what have you.
If you find any errors please post them.